Foresters Friendly Society see 36% increase in premium income
As at the end of October 2019, Foresters Friendly Society has increased premium income on its savings and investment plans year-on-year, with a 44% increase in single premium investments and an 8% rise in annual premium investments compared with figures for the same period in 2018. The Society has also achieved an 18% overall increase in policy sales.
Investments into the Foresters with profits Investment Bond and Stocks & Shares ISA have increased significantly as have sales of its Post Office Insurance Society (POIS) unit linked plans. Earlier in the year, Foresters partnered with AXA Investment Managers which has allowed the addition of several new asset classes in the alternatives space. This has helped to give Foresters a unique competitive advantage over similar providers to improve the marketability of its products to new members as well as the returns that can be achieved for existing members.
Foresters’ Order Insurance with profits Fund (OIF) was commended for performing well above average throughout a five-year investment period, ranking 5th best-performing fund overall in the Barnett Waddingham annual with profits fund survey. The Foresters fund was also best in class in its medium-sized fund category – funds containing £50-£200m.
Erik Vynckier, Interim Chief Executive of Foresters Friendly Society commented “Our results for 2019 show a continued year-on-year increase in uptake of our range of investment and savings plans – contributing to what has overall been an excellent year for us so far. One benefit of taking out a savings plan with Foresters or POIS is that membership of the Society comes at no additional cost, meaning that all our members can enjoy the benefits this brings, such as access to our discretionary grants and community events.”
Foresters Friendly Society’s with-profits fund performs well above average, despite tough year for markets
Foresters’ with-profits fund is listed the top performing fund in the small and medium categories with a 5 year return of 5.39 per cent.
The sixth with-profits survey by Barnett Waddingham, the UK’s leading independent provider of actuarial, administration and consultancy services, found the average annualised fund performance over a five-year period was only 4.48 per cent.
The Barnett Waddingham research covered over £50bn of assets across 41 funds and 23 insurers for the period ending December 31, 2018.
Foresters’ Order Insurance Fund (OIF) is performing well above average throughout a five-year investment period and ranks 5th best-performing fund overall. The fund is also best in class in its medium-sized fund category – funds containing £50-£200m.
Erik Vynckier, interim CEO of Foresters Friendly Society commented “it’s great to see Foresters’ with-profits fund stand up in what have been extremely difficult conditions this year for returns. At times like this when the market is down, our with-profits policyholders have been protected from the vagaries of a volatile market. An investment return of over 5% over 5 years is an incredibly positive performance, one which we hope to see continue”.
Foresters Friendly Society was named Best Small Insurer at the Insurance Investment Exchange Awards 2019. Foresters were recognised for their work in delivering real value through their investment portfolios and minimising volatility in an increasingly complex environment.
In June 2019, Foresters began a partnership with AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) which manages €730 billion (£650 billion) globally. This partnership has allowed the addition of several new assets classes in the alternatives space. This has helped to give us a unique competitive advantage over similar providers to improve the marketability of our products to new members as well as the returns that can be achieved for our existing members.
Surge in family members saving for children’s education
Nearly four in ten (39%) adults are saving money to help the children in their lives cover the cost of higher education
More than a third (31%) prioritise saving for their first car & driving lessons
28% are saving to help with deposits on first homes
With Which? revealing more than 8 in 10 families are financially supporting their children while at university , Foresters Friendly Society has discovered just how far financial preparations are having to stretch to cover the soaring cost of higher education today.
Indeed, parents are increasingly leaning on the support of their wider family members to shoulder costs, with 39% of relatives helping the children in their lives reach university .
What’s more, with new figures from UCAS, the official university admissions body, reporting nearly four in ten (39.5%) of all 18-year olds in England have applied this year , up from 38.1% at the same point last year, many families are helping financially to make sure students can make the most of their experience and focus on their studies without significant debt or financial concerns.
And it’s not just education that families are helping with. Learning to drive costs £355 more today than it did 10 years ago , with almost a third of relatives (31%) having to fund first cars and lessons.
An additional 28% are saving to be able to help children with the deposit on their first home. In fact, it’s thought it will take most 18-to-24-year-olds a shocking 22 years to save just a 10% deposit to buy a home in Britain .
For relatives, saving early to help with major life events has become both a short term and long-term priority.
Erik Vynckier, interim Chief Executive for Foresters Friendly Society, commented: “With the cost of living continuing to rise, it’s clear financial preparation is being shared more readily among relatives, with more adults helping to ensure the children in their lives achieve major life events with minimal stress or difficulty.
If making substantial financial contributions isn’t possible, this approach can be boosted by taking advantage of the range of saving vehicles on offer, ensuring any money saved is working its hardest.
Saving small amounts on a regular basis can quickly become a healthy nest egg.
Opening a savings plan, such as a tax-free Junior ISA, when children are young is a great way to encourage children to engage with money and allow them to see how their savings pot can grow over time with the goal of supporting their future needs”.
2,000 UK adults were surveyed by Atomik research company, between April to May 2018.
Foresters Friendly Society announced winner of ‘Best Small Insurer’ at the Insurance Investment Exchange Awards 2019
Foresters Friendly Society has been named Best Small Insurer at the Insurance Investment Exchange awards. Foresters were recognised for their work in delivering real value through their investment portfolios and minimising volatility in an increasingly complex environment. Embracing innovative strategies and internal talent has helped Foresters to be recognised for this award.
Foresters Friendly Society is a mutual insurer providing a range of financial savings, investment and insurance products, as well as a range of member benefits, including discretionary educational grants and healthcare support. It has £270 million of assets under management.
During 2018, Foresters’ investment strategy and investment team were overhauled, with the aim of enhancing investment performance, diversifying investment holdings, reducing volatility and efficiently managing solvency capital requirements.
In June 2019, Foresters began a partnership with Axa Investment Managers (Axa IM) which manages €730 billion (£650 billion) globally. This partnership has allowed the addition of several new assets classes in the alternatives space. This has helped to give Foresters a unique competitive advantage over similar providers to improve the marketability of its products to new members as well as the returns that can be achieved for existing members.
To support its enhanced investment strategy further, Foresters Friendly Society has also invested in its internal resourcing and created an in-house investment team to deliver insightful management information and provide more oversight to its external investment managers.
In addition to this, in the Barnett Waddingham 2017 annual with profits survey undertaken on 52 funds, the Foresters Order Insurance with profits fund:
Rated the best performing fund in the small fund category.
Rated in the top quartile across all fund sizes.
Provided higher returns over the 5 year period than the average return from the largest with profits funds.
(Source: The Barnett Waddingham survey, December 2017.)
Rachel Hardy, Finance Director at Foresters Friendly Society, comments “As a small insurer, we face the same challenges as larger organisations but with fewer resources so it is a real testament to the team that we have been recognised for the hard work and dedication on our investment strategy over in the last 18 months.
Working in partnership with Axa IM, a provider with solid credentials in the insurance sector, a robust performance track record and global capabilities across the wider investment universe, this places Foresters in a unique positioning against our peer group which will benefit our members and future members.”
AXA Investment Managers Selected by Foresters Friendly Society to Manage Multi-Asset Mandate
Foresters Friendly Society (Foresters), the mutual insurance provider protecting families since 1834, has appointed AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) to manage a £175 million multi-asset mandate on behalf of its members, with capacity for the mandate to grow to £300m in the medium-term.
The mandate will be lead by portfolio manager Andrew Etherington, and managed across non-profit, with-profits and unit-linked funds. 80% of the mandate will be invested in traditional assets, allowing for a 20% allocation to AXA IM’s strong alternative investment offering, in order to provide Foresters with additional diversification and potential return for its policyholders.
Furthermore the mandate is designed to allow for Foresters’ growth plans and enhancement of ESG integration, an area in which AXA IM is highly skilled, with two decades of RI experience. Last year AXA IM announced integration of ESG analysis across all of its investment platforms.
ESG investment has increased significantly over the past few years, with Foresters taking a keen interest in the heightened social conscience of the investment community. The appointment of AXA IM broadens the opportunities to invest in alternative asset classes, enhancing investment returns whilst keeping risk profiles within appetite, but also allows Foresters to explore and improve their ESG offering to support the increasing demands of investors.
In June 2019, Foresters Friendly Society won Best Small Insurer at the Insurance Investment Exchange awards. Foresters were recognised for delivering real value via their investment portfolios and minimising volatility in an increasingly complex environment.
Rachel Hardy, Finance Director at Foresters Friendly Society, commented: “We are pleased to have appointed AXA IM to manage our multi-asset mandate on behalf of our members. This appointment facilitates our expansion into ESG, which is an area of great importance across the investment industry as well as to our members whose interests are at the forefront of our services.”
John Stainsby, Head of UK Institutional Client Group, said: “Being appointed by a historically important mutual such as Foresters Friendly Society is a great endorsement of our third party offering, and best in class insurance asset management capabilities. Today is an exciting time for UK mutuals as they look to innovate and grow their member base. We believe that AXA IM are well placed to support in this development. We look forward to working closely with the Foresters team, and growing the relationship further.”
Volunteer’s Week 2019: 57% of us DON’T give back to communities
More than half of Brits (57%) do not give up their free time to help the community
35% blame parental duties as the biggest barrier stopping any time for volunteer work
But 33% would like to give up their free time this year
While Volunteers’ Week from 1st to 7th June will seek to acknowledge the 23 million people across the UK who willingly give up their time to help their local communities, a worrying 57% of us don’t volunteer at all.
Analysis from financial services mutual, Foresters Friendly Society, found there are several barriers stopping people from volunteering and giving back to their local communities. These include time pressures due to work or parenting commitments, a lack of experience and confidence volunteering and being unable to afford the perceived associated costs.
In fact, 35% are so pressured for time outside of their day jobs or when juggling childcare duties that they are left without room to consider any volunteer work at all. While experience as a volunteer could be developed over time, 13% are concerned about their lack of know-how when approaching volunteer work.
What’s more, while most extracurricular activities carry a minimal cost of £13 per week on average, there remains 10% who are concerned about affording additional payments.
Contributing to this lack of take up is the 21% of Brits who believe the government hold ultimate responsibility for promoting community support, not the volunteers themselves.
However, in recognition of the significant 33% considering volunteer work this year and to ensure awareness of its benefits is spread across the UK, Foresters Friendly Society has launched their nationwide Unsung Hero campaign and competition.
Open now and running until midnight on the 7th June 2019, the competition is open to both members of Foresters Friendly Society and the public, who can nominate either themselves or someone they know who participates in regular volunteer or selfless acts on behalf of their community.
The winner will be presented with a choice of Virgin Experience Days, worth up to £2,000. Whether that’s helicopter flying, sportscar racing or time spent at a luxury spa, these experiences are guaranteed to make the winner feel truly super – be it they want an adrenaline fuelled day or time to sit and relax!
Foresters Unsung Heroes campaign and competition will give a voice and platform to those who may go unrecognised for their selfless volunteer work or deeds done to help benefit their local community.
Whether it’s individuals in the armed forces, charity and community services, or activities such as running after-school clubs, charity fundraising or conservation work, the campaign and competition will celebrate individuals’ commitment to support their community.
Participants can also look out for reminders on Foresters’ social channels, using the hashtag #ForestersUnsungHeroes
Myles Edwards, Membership Director for Foresters Friendly Society commented: “Not only are volunteering activities helpful to others, but there are personal and social benefits in taking up such activities. Aside from the satisfaction of helping those in need, volunteering can also open the door to creating wider friendships and expand a person’s skill set or general knowledge.
“As a friendly society, we pride ourselves in catering for not just our members, but also our communities. We have launched the Unsung Heroes campaign to bring further awareness to those selfless individuals who put others before themselves daily and actively contribute to their local communities. In launching our campaign, we hope others will feel inspired to give back, whether that’s spending time to help clean up your local town, or even just getting in touch with those who might feel lonely. We encourage our members and the public to show their appreciation for our real-life heroes whose identity, for the time being, might be unknown.”
2,002 UK adults were surveyed by Opinium research company, between 5th February to 8th February 2019.
Bank Holiday rewards on limited offer from Foresters Friendly Society
With the Bank holiday fast approaching, consumers have the option to make use of the extra day to ensure their savings are working their hardest ahead of the summer months. Foresters Friendly Society, the mutual provider, will be offering a range of M&S Gift Cards up to the value of £300 for those who apply online by midnight, Sunday 2nd June 2019.
Foresters has a wide range of offers for consumers who open one of their popular Tax-Exempt Savings Plans (TESP), Child Tax Exempt Savings Plans (CTESP), Junior ISA, Stocks & Shares NISA or Lifetime ISA products within the limited time offer.
M&S Gift cards are also available to those who take out an Investment Bond with Foresters.
The deals, which are available exclusively via the Foresters website, offer an M&S Gift Card of up to £300. These are dependent on a minimum of three month’s contributions being paid upfront or in the case of lump sum investments, the amount must remain invested for at least three months.
Paul Osborn, Chief Executive for Foresters Friendly Society commented: “While the number of providers offering cashback or other incentives for opening new ISA accounts is growing, we are confident increasing the value of our limited offer on M&S Gift Cards will contribute to more savers spending the time to establish a long-term savings plan. This may take small amount of time out of people’s Bank Holiday, but with summer holidays on the horizon, it’s a really good time to get this sorted for yourself or a family member.”
Foresters Friendly Society launches Unsung Heroes campaign
Two in five (41%) Brits don’t have favourite fictional superhero
35% felt Thailand cave rescue team were most heroic real-life heroes
Nearly half (44%) of Brits think we should talk openly about everyday heroism we see
As we gear up for the deluge of Hollywood superhero blockbusters this summer, new research has proven that 41% of Brits admit they don’t have a favourite fictional superhero.
National Superhero Day, on 28th April 2019, was initially created by Marvel employees in 1995 to honour superheroes both real and fictional. Brits proved that, while Marvel and DC comic heroes are admired, it is the real-life feats of everyday people that strike a chord in our hearts.
For example, a third of those surveyed (35%) felt the startlingly brave acts of the divers involved with the Tham Lung cave rescue in Thailand in June 2018 meant they deserved the title of most heroic real-life heroes. Sir David Attenborough (12%) and former First Lady, Michelle Obama (6%), were voted second and third most heroic real-life figures for their contributions to society over the last 12 months.
In comparison, Superman (9%) Batman (8%) and Wonder Woman (7%) were the top three fictional superheroes, followed by Marvel heavyweights Thor (5%) and Black Panther (4%) according to a survey conducted by Foresters Friendly Society.
When asked what made these fictional heroes so “super”, 22% said the fact they protected people and the society we live in was their most admirable trait. Fighting crime and corruption and going the extra mile for others were voted second and third best traits at 15% and 11% respectively.
While ‘classic’ hero traits exist in our fictional heroes, not all superheroes wear capes. In fact, two thirds (66%) of the public do not think everyday heroes in local communities are properly recognised for their efforts. In recognition of the lack of acknowledgement and celebration of our real-life heroes, Foresters Friendly Society has launched their UK wide Unsung Hero campaign and competition.
Running from 28th April until 7th June 2019, the competition is open to both members of Foresters Friendly Society and the public, who can nominate either themselves or someone they know who participates in regular volunteer or selfless acts on behalf of their community.
The winner will be presented with a choice of exclusive adrenaline packed Virgin Experience Days, worth up to £2,000. Whether that’s helicopter flying, sportscar racing or time spent at a luxury spa, these experiences are guaranteed to make the winner feel truly super – be it they want an adrenaline fuelled day or time to sit and relax!
With more than two in five people (44%) strongly believing we should talk openly about everyday heroism; Foresters Unsung Heroes campaign and competition will give a voice and platform to those who may go unrecognised for their selfless volunteer work or deeds done to help benefit their local community.
Whether it’s individuals in the armed forces, charity and community services, or activities such as running after-school clubs, charity fundraising or conservation work, the campaign and competition will celebrate individual commitment to support their community.
Participants can also look out for reminders on Foresters’ social channels, using the hashtag #ForestersUnsungHeroes
Myles Edwards, Membership Director for Foresters Friendly Society said: “Not all superheroes wear capes. Our real-life heroes, be it members of the armed forces, carers or charity volunteers deserve equal respect and acknowledgement of their selfless efforts to provide for their communities.
As a friendly society, we pride ourselves in catering for not just our members, but also our communities. We have launched the Unsung Heroes campaign to bring further awareness to those selfless individuals who put others before themselves daily and actively contribute to their local communities. In launching our campaign, we hope others will feel inspired to give back, whether that’s spending time to help clean up your local town, or even just getting in touch with those who might feel lonely. We encourage our members and the public to show their appreciation for our real-life heroes whose identity, for the time being, might be unknown.”
2,002 UK adults were surveyed by Opinium research company, between 5th February to 8thFebruary 2019.
Coping with finances and grief when a loved one dies
Coping with the death of a loved one is one of life’s most stressful events imaginable – not only because of the psychological grieving process, but because of the financial challenges that can be incurred as well. According to the ONS, an average of 44,803 people die in the UK every April, which means that potentially hundreds of thousands of people will be grieving this month. Losing a loved one or preparing to lose a loved one is always going to be extremely difficult, but there are things you or they can do to slightly ease the process.
Talk To Someone
Talking to a family member or friend is a good way to begin the healing process and work through the many complex emotions that go hand-in-hand with the grieving process. If you’d rather not speak to someone you know, then GriefChat is a free online service which connects you to a bereavement counsellor who is specially trained to listen to you and to point you in the direction of further help and support. It’s available Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm.
Look After Yourself
As well as the well-known emotional effects, grief can take a huge physical toll on those suffering from it. Exhaustion, aches and pains, a lowered immune system, weight loss (or gain) and trouble sleeping are all known symptoms of grief. Meditating, listening to relaxing music, getting a good night’s sleep and eating a healthy diet can help. If you don’t feel like cooking, then ask friends and family to help you prepare meals and see your doctor if you need further advice.
Make To-do Lists
Financial affairs can seem like a small issue when the immediate, emotional reality of a loss kicks in, but once the death has been registered, things need to start moving fast on the financial side. The funeral needs to be arranged, insurance companies, pension providers and banks need to be informed, and the executor of the will needs to be contacted. If possible, have the conversation with loved ones before they pass away about who needs to be contacted should they die, so you can focus as much energy as possible on the grieving process. There are many online checklists you can use as well to ensure you’ve covered everything.
Death is an inevitable part of life. If you are fifty and over a funeral plan can help you get your affairs in order now, so you don’t need to worry about the costs of your own funeral falling to your loved ones or that they will spend unnecessary money on the service you may not have wanted.
It also means you can get the send-off you want by choosing what you want now, you can always revisit your choices later if you change your mind. Foresters Friendly Society has partnered with Dignity to offer a comprehensive range of plans that are uniquely tailored to your needs, and that provide access to a network of 1200 respected funeral directors delivering the highest levels of care.
Paul Osborn, Chief Executive for Foresters Friendly Society commented: “With today’s ageing population and continued pressure on our finances, financial consideration of the cost of a desired funeral service is of growing importance. While from the outset it may seem difficult or impersonal to talk about a loved one’s passing, having open and practical conversations whereby financial plans are put in place is crucial. Not only do these go a long way to avoid unexpected high costs, but they also help to ease some of the emotional toll when coming to the tedious process of formalising not only funeral documents but taxes and inheritance too.
Being able to offer our members access to Dignity’s range of funeral plans and having peace of mind the service provided is of the highest quality is key. As a mutual organisation, ensuring the services we offer are valuable and support members throughout their lives is at the heart of our organisation and everything we do.”
Paul Toghill, Director of Distribution & Partnerships, Dignity Pre Arrangement Ltd says “As one of the first companies to offer funeral plans in the UK, we are proud to have helped over 824,000 customers plan their funeral arrangements in advance. A funeral plan is a valuable part of sensible financial planning for anyone over 50, allowing individuals to put their affairs in order and get on with enjoying life, safe in the knowledge that everything they’ve specified will be taken care of. With a Dignity Funeral Plan, Foresters’ members can rest assured that this will be done with the highest standard of care.”
ISA season tax-free saving rewards from Foresters Friendly Society
ISA season is upon us and as investors rush to make the most of their tax-free allowance, Foresters Friendly Society, the mutual provider, will be offering an M&S Gift Card up to the value of £300 for those who apply online by midnight, Friday 5th April 2019.
Foresters has a wide range of offers for consumers who open one of their popular Tax-Exempt Savings Plans (TESP), Child Tax Exempt Savings Plans (CTESP), Junior ISA, Stocks & Shares NISA or Lifetime ISA products by the end of the tax year (5th April).
The deals, which are available exclusively via the Foresters website, offer an M&S Gift Card of up to £300 depending on the value of monthly or lump sum contributions and the duration that the savings are invested.
Paul Osborn, Chief Executive for Foresters Friendly Society commented: “The internet is full of money saving tips and tricks, and for savvier savers the end of ISA season can be a lucrative occasion. Now is the perfect opportunity for those who’ve yet to take advantage of their ISA allowance to do so and take advantage of our M&S Gift Card offers, just by opening an account. It only takes a few clicks to set up a savings plan which will bring lasting value, either to themselves or a loved one.”